Transport Fuels

Velocys’ proposed GTL plant in Ohio gets key EPA permit; final investment decision to be made by year-end

Velocys plc’s subsidiary Ashtabula Energy LLC has been issued a key wastewater discharge permit for its proposed gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Northeast Ohio in the United States.  Planned for an 80-acre site near ports and refineries on Lake Erie in Ashtabula, Ohio, the 4,900 barrel-per-day (bpd) GTL plant would convert Marcellus and Utica shale gas to produce solvents, lubricants, waxes and transportation fuels.

The company acquired the project in June 2014 after buying Pinto Energy LLC. The facility could be the Northeast’s first small-scale GTL plant and the country’s second if everything goes according to plan. Velocys, with joint venture partners Waste Management Inc., NRG Energy Inc. and Ventech Engineers International LLC are currently constructing the world’s first small-scale GTL facility at Waste Management’s East Oak Landfill in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) announced the approval of the wastewater discharge permit for the proposed Ashtabula Energy industrial processing plant on July 10. The permit will allow the facility to discharge 1.625 million gallons of wastewater per day into Lake Erie. The discharge would contain cooling water, water treatment plant residuals, non-process storm water, sanitary wastewater, and treated process waste streams. All permitted process and sanitary wastewater would be cleaned and treated prior to being discharged.

Two public meetings were held and public comments accepted and considered regarding the facility permit. The OEPA said stakeholders have 30 days to appeal Ashtabula Energy’s permits.

After a decision to increase the GTL plant’s previously planned capacity from 2,800 bpd, Velocys said it still needs to modify and revise its air permit before the project can go forward. It would also need “a number of minor permits” for construction and other aspects of the project.

Velocys is expected to make a final investment decision by the end of the year. Velocys, which develops, licenses and supplies small-scale GTL technology, would not operate its proposed plants, but rather provide technical assistance during their start-up. Velocys is also pursuing development opportunities outside the United States.

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